Over the past year it seems there are monthly headlines of newly dedicated, funded or planned public safety training centers across the nation. Community Colleges continue to be a major player in the new facility trend. From Massachusetts to California community colleges are aggressively moving into public safety education.
The colleges for many years have provided fire science and law enforcement curricula, but it seems that over the past 5 to 8 years they are spending millions of dollars on brick and mortar facilities. Colleges are building all aspects of public safety training props from burn buildings with live fire simulators to driving tracks. Following are some of the announcements from the past year. IBG is pleased to have assisted with the development of strategic business plans for several.
- Southwestern Community College in partnership with the Macon County officials (NC) is expanding its over crowded training facilities in an expansion plan.
- Last fall in Parma, Ohio, Cuyahoga Community College opened an $11.4 million Public Safety Training Center for both police and fire departments on a 10-acre site.
- Earlier this month the MERIT Training Center in Marshall, MN started construction on a public safety center that will include a 3-D driving simulator and driving track. Construction is expected to be completed by this fall.
- In Lawrence, MA (near Lowell) the city is working to develop a police headquarters and training facility in collaboration with Northern Essex Community College.
- The Polk State College, Winter Haven, FL will open their Center for Public Safety in January 2016. The $30 million facility will house the college programs in criminal justice, EMS, fire science and CALEA-accredited police program.
- South Lake Tahoe Community College, CA was presented with a $5.8-million private donation to enhance multiple programs at the college including public safety
In 2013 I highlighted several community college training center projects and provided detailed data sheets on their capabilities, props and educational focus. In the article I outlined several benefits for police/fire training department and community college collaborations.
“Community colleges play an integral role in public safety training – after all, their goal is to excel at education. Depending on the partnership structure, community colleges can provide something as simple as a steady stream of students or as complex as full management of training center operations. Increasingly, departments are partnering with community colleges. The result is that each benefits exponentially from the skills of the others. Partnerships also enhance both the numbers and the diversity of the student population. Some may be full-time college students, others working firefighters or law enforcement officers.”
“There are probably as many ways to structure partnerships between community colleges and public agencies as there are training centers in the country. In 2013 and for the foreseeable future partnerships will remain essential and will continue to grow. If a department is considering the development or modification of a training center a college the same partnerships should be at the top of any priority list.”
If you are considering a new public safety training center, or partnering with other departments (or your local community college) I would recommend you read “Public Safety Training Center Management; Ideas and Solutions” the article provides several methods for training center management and daily operations.
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Additional Resources On this Topic:
Public Safety Training Newsletter – a monthly e-newsletter covering the top news, events and announcements in Public Safety Training.
Responder Gateway – A full featured First Responder news and resource hub. One Place, One Stop, One Source.
Bill Booth Blog – Timely opinions and articles, on issues and comments about public safety training center management, funding and operations.